Smoke and Thyme in New Orleans: Cochon

Just across Canal St from the French Quarter are the refurbished factories and stockyards  of the Warehouse District. Cochon, and its Executive Chef Donald Link, are right at home there. Cochon cooks Cajun food, the down-home, country-style cuisine of Louisiana.

Much like French countryside peasant cuisine, we see a lot of cheap and simple ingredients cooked beautifully. Rabbit, duck and pork (everything but the squeal) abound, as those are the things you can raise and catch while living on the land.
Of course, in the swamps of Cajun country, that list also includes alligator, so there’s a fried gator with garlic mayonnaise dish on the menu as well.

 This foundry-like wood burning oven where they finish off about half of their Cajun dishes. I like to imagine that the beast was immovably installed for forging or smelting in whatever the building used to be, but this probably isn’t true.

Cochon’s bread basket offering is a beautifully glossy egg washed brioche.

I had fried chicken livers on toast with pepper jelly. I love chicken livers, but I’d never thought to batter and fry them before. The pepper jelly is weirdly what it sounds like: a jelly (jam) made from bell peppers and chillies. It’s sweet and tangy and spicy.

The Louisiana Cochon at Cochon – with cabbage, cracklins and pickled turnips

I hadn’t really ever seen cooked oysters before New Orleans, but they’re everywhere here. At Cochon, they get popped into the wood burning oven to get grilled to perfection.
Have some more oysters
Speaking of unconventionally prepared seafood: this crawfish pie (I wanna call it a pasty, but it said pie on the menu). This was something else.
If it’s not getting smoked, it’s getting fried: crispy boudin balls – rice, pork sausagemeat, chicken livers – with pickles.
Cajun rabbit stew with buttermilk biscuits.
I LOVED Cochon’s fire-engine red smoker cabinet.

And I love what comes out of it: smoked pork ribs with watermelon pickle.

I don’t think I’ve had pineapple upside cake since my gran made it for me as a kid. Was it good? Yeah, of course, but without a glace cherry in the hole of the pineapple ring, I can’t say it was complete.
After I was done with dinner, I set myself up at the pass between the kitchen and the waiters and took some shots of anything that was moving slow enough not to be blurry. I forgot to find out what they were, but… pretty! :

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